ACSUG - Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System

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Country: Spain
Name in English: ACSUG - Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System
National name: ACSUG - Axencia para Calidade do Sistema Universitario de Galicia

Agency's position within the national higher education system

Description of the agency

The Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System (ACSUG) was founded in 2001 with the main mission to contribute towards the improvement of the Galician University System (SUG).

The main activities carried out by ACSUG are:

-Verification, follow-up, and accreditation of university degrees.

-Implementation and certification of Internal Quality Assurance Systems in the university centers of Galicia.

-Support for teaching performance assessment.

-Studies and analysis of labor market insertion of the university graduates.

-Assessment of university teaching staff prior to contracting.

-Assessment for the allocation of independent salary bonuses: teaching and research work, curricular excellence and management posts.


ACSUG MISSION

The key mission of the Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System (ACSUG) is to help advance the improvement of the Galician University System (SUG) by drafting reports, conducting assessments and providing certification and accreditation for Galician University activities, particularly those related to teaching, research, the transfer of knowledge, and management.

The ACSUG also acts as an instrument for the permanent collection and channelling of information between the Galician universities, other institutions and interest groups, enabling the SUG to remain up to date and in touch with changing social demands.

ACSUG VISION

ACSUG’s vocation is to become a benchmark for quality assurance in the Higher Education Institutions of the SUG, and to be acknowledged in Galicia, Spain and internationally for its independence, transparency and credibility.

Legal framework

The ACSUG is a public body with its own legal identity, independent from that of its members and it shall exercise its full legal capacity as required for the fulfilment of its goals.

The ACSUG is, by law, the quality assurance agency responsible in the autonomus region of Galicia (Spain) to perform the assessment, certification and accreditation functions particularly those related to teaching, research, the transfer of knowledge, and management.

Independence

The ACSUG undertakes its functions independently, objectively, transparently and efficiently and it is entirely subject to the rule of Law.

As it is stablished in the ACSUG statutes, there is a clear difference in its structure and functions between the governing bodies (President, Director and Board of Directors), the consultative bodies (Advisory Board) and the evaluation bodies (expert advisors committees and the Galician Committee for Reports, Assessment, Certification and Accreditation (CGIACA).

The role of the CGIACA, as the ACSUG’s highest assessment body and acting completely independently, is to issue reports, conduct assessments, issue certificates and accreditations that are attributed to ACSUG, with the guidance of panels of experts.

Funding

The activities undertaken by ACSUG are financed by a specific allocation agreed to in the Galician University System Finances Plannings, which is included in the Autonomous Region of Galicia’s Budget. This budget allocation allows ACSUG to undertake the activities attributed to it within the budget, pursuant to the additional 27th provision of the Galician Parliament Law 3/2002 of 29 April governing fiscal and administrative policies.

Additionally, ACSUG can sign partnership agreements in order to undertake other external evaluation activities, which can resulted in additional revenue through payment for these services.

Quality assurance procedures

Main procedures

The main quality assurance procedures carried out by ACSUG are:

-Verification, follow-up, and accreditation of university degrees.

-Implementation and certification of Internal Quality Assurance Systems in the university centers of Galicia.

-Support for teaching performance assessment.

-Studies and analysis of labor market insertion of the university graduates.

-Assessment of university teaching staff prior to contracting.

-Assessment for the allocation of independent salary bonuses: teaching and research work, curricular excellence and management posts.

Consequences of quality assurance and accreditation decisions

In the Autonomous Community of Galicia, the ACSUG possesses the legal authorities and technical competency to perform advance verification, monitoring and accreditation of official undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degree programs.

Verification: the proposals for new official degree programs in Galicia must be subjected to an evaluation process made by ACSUG prior to their verification. A new official degree cannot start operating in Galicia without a previous positive evaluation by ACSUG.

Monitoring: the monitoring process is applicable to all of the official degrees implemented in the universities belonging to the Galician University System (SUG).

Accreditation: after the qualification has been implemented, it has to be submitted for evaluation to renew its accreditation. This process ascertains whether the syllabus has been implemented in accordance with the initial plan and a visit by external assessors is made to check this. This evaluation is performed every four years for master’s degrees and every six years for degree and doctorate qualifications. A positive evaluation is necessary for the degrees to continue in the Galician University System.

Validity of the decision(s)

The graduate, master’s and doctorate qualifications in Galicia are required to undergo several quality assurance processes, which take place cyclically:

1) verification of the qualification proposal before it is authorised. 2) annual monitoring after its introduction. 3) accreditation four years after the introduction of master’s and six years after the introduction of graduate degrees and doctorates.

Publication policy

The reports resulting from the evaluation activities are published on the ACSUG website and their contents follow the guidelines and criteria pertaining to each activity. In a few cases, if other reports are available on the websites of other institutions, the site indicates how they can be accessed.

(Legal) appeal system

The institutions and subjects assessed by ACSUG have a time-scale, depending on the evaluation process, in which they may lodge appeals or request clarification regarding the process.

When the review processes encompass a formal resolution or decision, or if the conclusions lead to a formal outcome, ACSUG has a petitions and appeals mechanism.

In the first instance an appeal may be lodged with ACSUG’s decision-making body (CGIACA) by means of an administrative procedure (as per Law 30/1992 on Administrative Procedure). Also in existence is the option of the right to appeal before the Courts, in accordance with Law 29/1998 on Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction.

Figures on Quality Assurance / Accreditation Procedures

Since 2009, ACSUG has been evaluating in the verifcation process a total of 424 officially recognised qualifications.

If you can consult the rest of evaluation activities carried out by ACSUG, please consult our website: acsug

International activities

Since its creation, the ACSUG has considered it to be vitally important to establish relationships and exchange information, at both the national and international level, with other quality agencies and organizations with activities related to university education. Such relationships can assist with continual improvement of the activities performed as well as with ongoing adaptation to the situation faced by higher education at any given time.

Member of international quality assurance networks / organisations

  • ECA: The ACSUG is a member of the ECA since June 2013.
  • ENQA: The ACSUG is a full member of ENQA since November 2009.
  • EQAR: The ACSUG is registered in the EQAR since November 2010.

External reviews, compliance with ESG

2009: In 2009 ACSUG underwent an international assessment process conducted by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) in accordance with the “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area.” The outcome was that ACSUG was accepted as a full member of ENQA in 2009 for a period of 5 years.

The process started in 2009 is not considered an isolated step, but rather as part of an ongoing and cyclical evaluation process constantly working towards a continuous improvement

2014: As part of the cyclical evaluation process and after 5 years as a full member of ENQA, a new international external assessment process has been undertaking with the aim to check if ACSUG continues to comply with the “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area,” and therefore intends to continue to form part of ENQA as a full member.

Accreditation procedures in another jurisdiction

Since 2009 ACSUG has been required to perform the evaluation of the quality of overseas universities. After signing the corresponding partnership agreements, it is evaluating the quality of university centres in Peru, where it has already evaluated 9 centres of the University of San Martín de Porres (USMP) and 4 centres of the Néstor Cáceres Velásquez Andina University (UANCV). We are shortly to begin the evaluation of a further 11 centres at this university.

ACSUG was also contacted by other Peruvian universities, such as the San Luis Gonzaga de ICA National University (UNICA) with whom we have signed a framework agreement, and a training workshop was held at ACSUG in 2013, which was attended by 15 representatives from this university.

ACSUG participated in a European Union Tempus project related to the Central Asian Quality Assurance and Accreditation Network (CANQA) over the period 2009-2012, assisting with the introduction of Quality Management Systems in the countries of this region.

Recognition of foreign qualifications

ACSUG has no competence in this topic.

Agreements concerning the mutual recognition of accreditation

How are joint programmes quality assured by your agency?

The joint programmes are assessed by ACSUG following the same guidelines as the other programmes.

See also

External links